America's Real Threat Is Education
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Politics and Activism

America's Real Threat Is Education

Higher education is overlooked.

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America's Real Threat Is Education

During the 2016 Presidential Election, I heard both candidates continuously reference what they believe are present and future threats to America and the American people. Both candidates spoke about security threats, job threats, foreign and domestic threats, and any other threat they could conjure up to scare American citizens into voting for them. I am aware of the many potential dangers that threaten the American way of life, but there may be one real threat to the America—the lack of education among Americans.

Education is the number one threat to jobs, not just in our country, but in the world. The largest threat to job security, in any country, is technology, which will require an education beyond the high school level. In fact, almost 65 percent of young kids just entering the education field will find themselves entering a career field that does not currently exist. The World Economic Forum has predicted that 5 million jobs will be lost by 2020 and that administrative and white-collar office jobs are most at risk to take a hit during the next four years. So what does that mean? It means that we need to train and educate our youth so they can live in a competing country.

Education is vital to any countries success, but America seems to be falling behind many top countries when it comes to providing their citizens with a competitive education. According to the global report on education released by Pearson in 2014, the United States ranked 14th in educational systems in the world with the top 5 being: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Finland. According to the 2016 Social Progressive Index, the United State ranks 17th in educational systems in the world. The top five are the same as the Person report, with 6-10 being: UK, Canada, Netherlands, and Ireland Poland. These lists provide insight into where the United States ranks in the world when it comes to providing a quality education, but here's an important question: Do these ranking reflect the quality of the education or the desire of American's to become educated?

The index rankings factored in test scores and literacy rate, but two important factors that reflect the American student are graduation rate and higher education enrollment. The Pearson findings ranked the United States at 20th when it came to education attainment. In 2014-2015 the high school graduation rate was 83 percent which set a record for the fifth straight year; however, according to census data, the more alarming data reflects the number of American's without a college degree. In 2015, there were 209.3 million citizens over the age of 25 and only 66.9 million held a bachelor degree or higher. That means 68 percent did not hold a college degree. If America wants to remain a powerhouse in the world, we need to raise the number of citizens with a college degree.

Technology is directly affecting the workforce, and as time goes by, American's watch as blue collar jobs disappear due to the rise of machines and computers. A primary focal point for the 2016 election was job creation and keeping jobs in America; however, even if we did bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, who's to say those jobs won't be phased out by technology. Many blue collar jobs won't be around to see the light of the future, so what we need to do is focus on the amount of education that America offers, and the amount of American's that attain a college degree. Many American's continue to focus on jobs that will inevitability become extinct; instead, we should be focused on training and educating those workers, so that they can transition into positions that will soon replace their current positions. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, renewable energy job increased by 6%, while oil and gas employment fell by 18 percent.

We can sit around and argue about which threat should hold the most concern to our country, but I think we should look around and realize that American's may be the biggest threat to America. If we continue to overlook the importance of education in this country, we will leave our youth with a country that cannot compete in the global market. American's will watch as other nations embrace education and technology as they build strong economies and powerful military forces. I completely understand that many American's are worried about terrorism, manufacturing jobs, fossil fuel and coal jobs, gun control, civil rights, and immigration, but when do we place importance on education? You know, I do recall someone mentioning higher education during the election, I believe he said it would be free, but that was rejected. I sure hope that doesn't come back to bite America in the rear.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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